How Stress Damage Your Body and Brain

Are you stressed out, anxious, and physically exhausted? Are you moving at full speed all day to keep up with demanding work and family responsibilities? Then, when nighttime rolls around, you can’t unwind and turn your mind off?

Are you trapped in a cycle of stressful days and sleepless nights?

Maybe you’ve already tried natural remedies to relieve stress and improve sleep, like magnesium, meditation, valerian root, and acupuncture, but nothing takes the edge off your anxiety. Maybe you even tried drugs like Xanax, but it made you feel spacey, irritable, and just downright weird.

Well, you’re not alone. It seems like everyone’s stressed and anxious nowadays, especially after being bombarded by bad news every day. It’s sad, but we’re all just searching for a way to cope with the demands of our day-to-day lives.

Luckily, several supplements, such as L- theanine, 5-HTP, and GABA, might be able to squash this modern-day stress. But before I tell you why these amino acids are my go-to stress supplement, first, you need to understand how stress affects your body, especially your hormones.

When you’re stressed, your adrenal glands start pumping out cortisol. Cortisol can be helpful in life-or-death situations. It increases your blood sugar, giving you the energy you need to either fight the threat you face or flee from it. But to give you that extra energy boost, cortisol stops other bodily functions that aren’t essential in an emergency situation, like immune response, digestion, and reproduction. This is no big deal if the stress is temporary. But if you have high levels of stress daily, it becomes a severe problem that impacts your hormones and health.

Cortisol blocks the body from making the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, throwing your hormonal balance out of whack. Beyond your hormones, high cortisol levels weaken your immune system, put you at risk for diabetes, and contribute to obesity. High cortisol — and low estrogen and progesterone levels — are also tied to mood problems and, of course, anxiety.So, in other words, stress messes with your hormonal balance, and unbalanced hormones make you feel more stressed. It’s a vicious cycle.

How Do You Break The Cycle?

Well, that’s where L-theanine, 5-HTP, and GABA come in. L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea, black tea, and one mushroom species. Even though it’s one of the rarest amino acids found in food, it’s the most useful for fighting stress.

Research shows it lowers cortisol levels — the same cortisol that fuels that destructive hormone-anxiety cycle I told you about earlier. L-theanine also boosts levels of the brain’s chemical GABA, which promotes relaxation and sleep. Progesterone encourages your body to produce GABA, too. But if progesterone levels are low due to hormonal changes or the overproduction of cortisol, you’re not getting as much of this calming brain chemical as you need.

L-theanine enables the body to produce other calming amino acids, such as dopamine, GABA, and Tryptophan and helps with concentration, focus, deep muscle relaxation, and improved quality sleep. L-theanine has also been shown to help regulate blood pressure within normal ranges. In addition, L-theanine produces beneficial effects on the nervous and cardiovascular systems.

L-theanine triggers alpha brain waves as well. Alpha brain waves occur when you’re relaxed but still awake, like when you meditate or daydream. They make you feel relaxed but not sedated, which may explain why L-theanine is known for its ability to decrease anxiety while increasing alertness.

Green and black tea are the best naturally occurring sources of L-theanine. But you’d have to drink a lot of tea (10 cups or more daily) to match the L- theanine doses typically used in various studies.

That’s why it’s a good idea to try L-theanine supplements. You can start with about 200 to 400 mg per day. That’s a similar dosage to what’s been used successfully and safely in studies to relieve stress.

When you shop for an L-theanine supplement, you’ll probably notice GABA supplements on the shelf nearby. Since L-theanine lowers anxiety by encouraging GABA production, you may wonder if you should go straight to the source and take GABA supplements instead. If you would like to discuss which would be better for you, reach out to us anytime.


5-HTP is a widely used alternative treatment for stress and anxiety and is essential for the manufacturing of serotonin in the brain.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a central role in regulating mood, appetite, and sleep. Lowered serotonin levels may cause depression, obesity, and insomnia and interfere with functioning at peak levels both mentally and physically. 5HTP will safely and efficiently boost our serotonin levels to help reduce stress, depression, obesity, anxiety, and migraine headaches. Taking 5-HTP at bedtime improves sleep and reduces daytime anxiety.

If you are stressed, anxious, and have trouble sleeping, get a FREE Consultation with one of our doctors (D.C) here

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